Monthly Archives: December 2014

Andreas Vesalius and the Science of Anatomy

Andreas Vesalius and the Science of Anatomy

On December 31, 1514, Brabantian (in modern-day Belgium) anatomist, physician Andreas Vesalius was born. Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy. He is best known as author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). “I could have done nothing more worthwhile than to give a new description of the whole human body, of which…
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Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

On December 26, 1985, American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist Dian Fossey was killed. She is best known for her extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years in they mountain forests of Rwanda. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what…
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Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

On December 22, 1821, French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre was born. Being a prolific author, his greatest achievement lies in the polularization of insect natural history. Victor Hugo dubbed him “the insects’ Homer” and Edmond Rostand named him the “Virgil of insects.” Darwin cited him as “an incomparable observer.” Butterflies and Grasshoppers Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre was born in Saint Léons in Aveyron, France. He spent the first years of his youth at Le Malaval,…
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Pjotr Kropotkin and the Theory of Mutual Aid

Pjotr Kropotkin and the Theory of Mutual Aid

On December 21, 1842 (or December 8, according to the Gregorian Calendar), Russian geographer, economist, activist, philologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, writer and prominent anarchist Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was born. Besides being a political person, his main scientific contribution is the publication of his theory of mutual aid, voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit as a counter model to the historic concept of an autonomous individual, the…
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Christopher Polhem anticipating the Industrial Revolution

Christopher Polhem anticipating the Industrial Revolution

On December 18, 1661, Swedish scientist, inventor, and industrialist Christopher Polhem was born. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining. He notable introduced a division of labour among manufacturing tasks, centuries before the production line methods pioneered by Henry Ford. Christopher Polhem – Early Years Christopher Polhem was the son of Christina Eriksdotter Schening from Vadstena, Sweden, and Wulf Christopher Polhammar, a German merchant who immigrated…
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Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

On December 16, 1901, American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead was born. She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, often controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. “Maggie was a short little lady with immense courage-a first of a kind-took nothing for granted and…
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Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

On December 12, 1900, Hungarian–American scientist and inventor Mária Telkes was born. She is best known for her work in solar energy technology. Mária Telkes finished her dissertation in the field of physical chemistry in 1924 at the University o Budapest and moved to the united States shortly after. About one year later, Telkes accepted a position as a biophysicist for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where she researched on creating a photoelectric…
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Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

On December 8, 1730, Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist Jan Ingenhousz was born. He is best known for showing that light is essential to photosynthesis and thus became one of the scientists who significantly contributed to the discovery of photosynthesis. He also discovered that plants, like animals, have cellular respiration. “Mr. Ingenhouszen belongs to the small number of working physicists who possess the fruitful talent not only to pursue individual objects with admirable…
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Karen Horney’s Struggle with Neurosis

Karen Horney’s Struggle with Neurosis

On December 4, 1952, German Neo-Freudian psychoanalyst Karen Horney passed away. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views. This was particularly true of her theories of sexuality and of the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis. She is credited with founding feminist psychology in response to Freud’s theory of penis envy.[4] She disagreed with Freud about inherent differences in the psychology of men and women, and she traced such differences to society and culture rather…
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Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

Ellen Swallow Richards and Home Economics

On December 3, 1842, American chemist Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was born. She was the foremost female industrial and environmental chemist in the United States during the 19th century. Her pioneering work in sanitary engineering and experimental research in domestic science widened professional opportunities for women in the sciences and laid a foundation for the new science of home economics. Richard was educated at home, since both of her parents were trained…
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